Category Archives: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions #4: Can You Reverse a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment?

So, you’ve finally decided that a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment is what you need to help your playing, but — what if you don’t like it? Can a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment be reversed?

The answer is: yes.

How far out are your valves?
How far out are your valves?

Before we do any valve alignment we take measurements of where the valves are before altering the horn. We give you this information when we finish the work and also keep a copy for our records. If you don’t like the way that your horn plays after a valve alignment, with those records, we can put it back to exactly where it was before we made any alterations.

That being said, we have only ever un-aligned trumpets in extremely exceptional situations. For example, when a trumpet’s valves are very far out, most players choose a mouthpiece that is very large to compensate for the extra resistance caused by the misalignment. And because the player’s setup is dependent on that resistance to work, removing it through the alignment completely changes how their equipment works for them. To get the familiar blow of their trumpet back, it may take a mouthpiece adjustment that would be very drastic, which some players would be averse to doing.

If you would like to learn more about the Bob Reeves valve alignment, click this link to the information page on our website. You can also contact us by phone or email — consultation is, and always will be, free.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured it in a future blog post!

Frequently Asked Questions #3: What is the Standard Throat Size in a Bob Reeves Mouthpiece?

Many players believe that all mouthpieces come with “standard” #27 drill bit size bores (or throats). Though many manufacturers still use the #27 throat as a “standard” there are many others that have begun to make variations in their “standard” designs.

So, what is the standard throat size on a Bob Reeves Mouthpiece?

The short answer: it depends.

The Long Answer:

When Bob started his business in 1968, he had no intentions of ever making a “standard” series of mouthpieces. He wanted to work with players one-on-one to find a truly custom fit that each player really needs, and he still does that to this day. But, as he worked with more and more players, he developed what has become his “standard” series of mouthpieces. Each Bob Reeves mouthpiece is balanced to play evenly from low to high and over all dynamics.  The throat size that Bob has chosen varies from cup to cup, rim to rim, and backbore to backbore. You would have to ask about a specific mouthpiece for us to tell you what throat it comes with standard.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured in a future blog post!

Frequently Asked Questions #2: Does My Brand New Trumpet Need a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment?

Time and time again customers ask us the question, “Does my new trumpet need to have a valve alignment?”

The answer, surprisingly, is yes.

Bach Trumpet Valve Parts for Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Trumpet valve parts from a Bach Stradivarius Bb trumpet with Bob Reeves Brass valve alignment pads.

Over the years we have done valve alignments on thousands of trumpets, and other piston valved brass instruments, and all of them have been out of alignment before we did any work. Whenever we do a valve alignment, we keep a record of the position the valves are in before we make any alterations — we measure the horn as it is when we get it. (When you get your horn back after an alignment, these are the measurements that we include on the yellow pre-alignment information card.) With all the data we have compiled over the years, we have created a chart that shows the average alignment of trumpets by manufacturer, which you can view by clicking here.

As you can see, all of the popular manufacturer’s instruments are out of alignment when they leave the factory, and that alignment is constantly changing. The only way to really know how your horn plays, and to keep it playing the same everyday, is to have a valve alignment done.

Why Did I Just Pay Several Thousand Dollars for a Mis-aligned Instrument?

Well, there are a few reasons:

“Close Enough” To Sell

First, even high-end trumpets are made in a matter of hours. It takes us at least 2-3 hours (and sometimes all day!) to properly align the valves. Instrument makers cannot add this amount of time and labor to their production costs. They do what they can to get their trumpets “close enough” to sell at a competitive price, but as we’ve found through the years “close enough” leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Accumulated Factory Tolerances

Second, valves are made of at least 7 parts:  the valve body, spring barrel, stem, upstroke pad, valve cap, downstroke pad, and finger button. Each part is made to certain specifications and can be passed through if they fall within a certain tolerance. A good factory keeps these tolerances to within a few thousandths of an inch. For arguments sake, lets assume that every trumpet is made in a great factory that produces parts to +/-.002″ (less than a human hair), and their quality control catches 100% of the parts that fall outside of this tolerance. Even in this case, you have the possibility of each valve being out of alignment by +/-.014″. We get this number by multiplying the 7 parts in a valve by the .002″ tolerance. For reference, we find that valves that are out of alignment by .008″ or more have a detrimental impact to the player.

The truth is, we have measured valve parts from the finest instrument makers in the world straight from the factory and their tolerances on these valve parts are considerably greater than the .002″ in our hypothetical situation above. One recent piccolo trumpet that was sent straight from a factory in the Midwest was out by over .040″!

If you have any questions about our valve alignment process and its benefits, we are always available for consultation over the phone and by email, and, if you are local to Los Angeles, you can bring your trumpet to our shop and we will measure it for free.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured in a future blog post!

Frequently Asked Questions #1: How Long Do Your Valve Alignment Pads Last?

This will be the first in a series of blog posts answering questions that we receive time and time again.

One of the most common questions we get about Bob Reeves’ patented Valve Alignment process is, “How long do your pads last?”

Bach Trumpet Valve Parts for Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Trumpet valve parts from a Bach Stradivarius Bb trumpet with Bob Reeves Brass valve alignment pads.

Bob Reeves Brass Pad Material vs. Others

While normal felt pads, Neoprene pads, and rubber pads can change daily because of moisture, temperature, and other factors, the proprietary material that we put into an instrument during an alignment is much more stable. Under normal situations, we have seen our pads last anywhere from five to ten years! This means that the valve alignment will stay true just as long. Some customers wear through the pads faster, but this is usually caused by a reaction with their body chemistry (some people naturally wear through materials faster). Even then, our pads will remain stable longer then the pads that came with the instrument.

The Beauty of a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment

Here’s the thing — even when the pads do eventually wear out, you don’t need to send your instrument to us again, ever! All you need to do is give us a call and order a replacement set of pads. Pop these into your trumpet and it’ll put the alignment right back to where it was the day it left our shop. We have a database of almost 20,000 instruments that have been aligned by Bob Reeves Brass.

Trumpets, a Piccolo Trumpet, and a Flugelhorn Ready for a Bob Reeves Alignment
Bb and C trumpets, a piccolo trumpet, and a flugelhorn ready for a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment.

Have Your Valves Been Aligned By Bob Reeves Brass?

You can check whether your instrument has been aligned by us using our online serial number look-up form or giving us a call.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured it in a future blog post!